If you’re a heavy user of WhatsApp concerned about the new terms of use, fear not. You’ll be able to continue using your account even if you don’t agree to the new terms. In what can only be described as a significant backdown on previous threats, users can continue using accounts without agreeing to the update.

The changes to the security and privacy policy specifically relate to what happens if a user doesn’t accept the new terms:

Considering the majority of users who have seen the update have accepted, we’ll continue to display a notification in WhatsApp providing more information about the update and reminding those who haven’t had a chance to do so to review and accept. We currently have no plans for these reminders to become persistent and to limit the functionality of the app.

There will also be other opportunities for those who haven’t accepted the updates to do so directly in the app. For example, when someone reregisters for WhatsApp or if someone wants to use a feature that’s related to this update for the first time.

The TL:DR version is

  1. You don’t have to accept
  2. You won’t lose functionality – for now at least
  3. You won’t be pestered with constant reminder to accept

which is clarified with a statement issued to TheNextWeb by a representative of WhatsApp:

Given recent discussions with various authorities and privacy experts, we want to make clear that we currently have no plans to limit the functionality of how WhatsApp works for those who have not yet accepted the update. Instead, we will continue to remind users from time to time about the update as well as when people choose to use relevant optional features, like communicating with a business that is receiving support from Facebook.

So if you’re a WhatsApp user who doesn’t yet want to agree to the new policy, you don’t have to. In reality, if you read back over the previous terms there isn’t actually any major change to previous terms. So, much of the furore is around better transparency in where data goes and not disclosure of your data and communication habits.